Focus Verse: Prov 4:7 Lesson Verse: Prov 4:13
A. Discipleship is the most important aspect of growth and maturity. Without discipleship, no child ever matures to an adult (they may have an adult body, but they are only big babies in heart and mind), and no Christian ever grows to maturity without discipleship, methodical training by a "master" and elder, a mature caring Christian!
B. Discipleship begins at home - not at school or even at church! Solomon here in chapter 4 begins to show that just as HE was instructed by his father, he now was doing the same for his son
1. God teaching his son Israel
2. Solomon teaching Rehoboam
3. God teaching His children (Christians)
C. The focus is on getting wisdom - more than riches, honour, or anything! The whole gist of Proverbs is getting, and learning wisdom. Let's learn why
A. A Father's Role (Pr 4:1-4; Ps 34:11)
1. Training; Persuasion
2. Discipleship begins at home, by the parents
3. Parents must endeavor to teach their children good things - not bad habits
4. Every father, first had to learn some things from their parents - living right must be learned - it does not come natural!
5. The believer must seek out wisdom - not just "picked up along the way." We need to learn about Wisdom - what it is, and what it does
a. Wisdom - what is wise or smart - not just intelligent, but having very deep thinking about stuff. Simply, wisdom is God's way of thinking - how He views things - well thought-out!
b. Instruction - just repetitive teaching what we need to know
c. Understanding - more than just knowledge, but understanding what you know, and what is wise. People believed Socrates and Aristotle were wise, but the true wise son knows better!
d. Good doctrine - the right approach to life
e. The Law and Commandments - fixed and absolute - not ever-changing, or evolving, or adapting, or anything but just set truth!
B. A Life-Long Love of Learning (Pr 4:5-13)
1. Not talking about normal State-run education, but HOME education (Pr 19:27)
2. Love wisdom like you would your wife, or girlfriend, or sister - treat wisdom just like a good woman!!!
a. Get wisdom - like you set out to get a date for Saturday night
b. Hold onto wisdom - wouldn't want to lose the girl of your dreams
c. Love wisdom - the purpose of knowing wisdom is the same as with God - to love Him
1) Think about God's words - ponder (Lk 9:44)
2) Memorize its details
3) Examine it from every angle - meditate
4) That's what you do when you are in love!!!
d. Balance your life with both wisdom AND understanding
1) Wisdom is knowing God's way
2) Understanding is the appreciation of it (Ps 73:15-18)
e. Exalt it - make it priority; value Godly wisdom from the Bible
f. Embrace it - get intimate with wisdom (Pr 18:1) - too superficial in both our Christianity, and in our intimacy with God and His word!
g. Don't ever let wisdom go - slip away
3. What Wisdom will do back for you - mirror operation - she wil:
e. Adorn - dress you up
f. Crown (1Pet 5:4; Cf 2 Tim 4:2)
g. Lengthen your life
h. Lead you
i. Ease you path - not make it so hard to follow the Lord
j. Smooth your course
k. Give you life
l. Give you health
C. Staying Clear of Wrong Paths (Pr 4:14-19) Dealing with separation (2 Cor 6:12-16; 1 Cor 15:33), and staying different (1 Pet 2:11,12)
1. Not just staying away from bad people, but bad paths that lead you to trouble
2. Stay clean and innocent (Rom 16:19) by AVOIDANCE - staying clear
3. Staying on the right paths mean staying on the Old Paths (Jer 6:16), Narrow paths, Strait (hard and rocky) paths
4. Examples include:
a. Joseph with Potiphar's wife
b. Abraham getting clear of Lot, and staying out in the field
c. Abraham refusing riches from king's of Sodom
d. Daniel refusing the king's meat
e. Why? They all were paths that would lead to sin and the judgment of God if the believer ended up down the path - as Lot did in Abraham's case
5. Stay off of the wrong paths not only because of the destinations, but also the kind of folks that are on the paths
a. They have no life except to ruin other people's lives
b. They have no joy unless someone falls - can't rest until they arein "hyper" mode, or see others in disaster, or under stress, or having guilt-complex
6. The two paths are clearly different - always make sure you boil down to simple contrast of right and wrong each path you find yourself on, or presented with - don't allow all the gray areas to dominate your guidance systems
a. The right path always grows brighter the longer you are on it
b. The wrong path always grows darker - cause people to stumble (Cf 1Pet 2:8) and the word, and at the cross, and at Christ!
D. Eight Admonitions - Wise Advice (Pr 4:20-27) - More than that - this is an Order (Cf Dt 5:29)!
1. Attend to God's words - attendance - stay tuned to God's wisdom - not wisdom of this world (Cf 1 Cor 1:20,21; 3:19). Notice that this is the FIRST thing to make sure you are doing - the foundation.
a. Keep them in sight - READ THEM!
b. Keep them in the midst of your heart - not just the head or mind - memorize and MEDITATE on them! Let God's words, and ways be the mainstay of your thoughts - they are:
1) Complete - all of nature and truth builds upon and extends from God's truth - no real contradictions between science and the Bible. They satisfy the hardest skeptic, and the hungriest heart
2) Conclusive - you can make some conclusions - not awash in a sea of confusion
3) Convenient - match everyday experience - practical
4) Capable - sharper than a sword, able to defeat temptation (Mt 4; Heb 4:12), and equip you for each battle
c. Why? Because out of the heart comes all of life's troubles, as we shall see in the next verse
2. Keep thy heart with all diligence - don't let it get out of control (Jer 17:9). Every problem is a heart problem, and only Jesus has the keys to the heart, and can conquer it, and can remold the heart (Ez 36:26)
a. Backsliding begins in the heart (Pr 14:14)
b. All of sin begins in the heart (Mt 5:28; 12:35; 15:19; James 1:14,15; 4:4)
c. Keep it sweet, soft, kind, tender (Eph 4:32; 1 Cor 13)
3. Put away a froward mouth - rash and crude mouth (Jam 3:2-15) - that's an order! Get that mouth, and the words it says, and especially HOW it talks under the control of the Holy Spirit!!!
4. Let thine eyes look right on - Stay on your target.
a. The target of the will of God
b. Look unto Jesus (Heb 12:2; Mt 6:22).
c. Look people straight on - Get rid of the bad habit of not being able to look people straight in the eye (have a guilt conscience, or inferiority complex).
5. Ponder the path of thy feet - think about every step you make. A step of faith is never a blind step! Always ask:
a. Is it God's will (Jam 4:13-15)?
b. Does this glorify Christ?
c. If the answer is yes, then PRESS ON! If not, then WAIT before you make a move!
6. Let all thy ways be established - make each step sure, and solid, all according to the wisdom of God's word! No general simply sends his men in to fight just to gain ground - he wants to be able to KEEP each inch gained - same ought to be truth in the life of the growing Christian
a. Never have any regrets
b. Stay going forward - don't backslide
c. The Christian needs to be always maturing, and growing, and developing - not meaning always having good things happening, but through everything, becoming more and more of a man of Gof, or a woman of God
1) We all begin as a child of God
2) How we mature is what makes us men and women of God
3) It is from THIS group that God calls pastors, pastor-wives, missionaries, etc.
7. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left - don't get side-tracked (Heb 12:1,2) - don't let besetting sins attract you, and lure you off course (there is a lot here about staying "on course" isn't there?)
8. Remove thy foot from evil - just stay clear of anything evil (i.e., 1Jn 5:21)!!! The Christian HAS to become spiritually sensitive to getting away from the Lord, and getting hooked on themselves, or on some sin